John Chuckman


What’s Wrong with Liberal Jews?
” … somehow shooting simulated Arabs [Jerry Seinfeld] and grinning while doing so does not appear to bother him one bit.”

“What’s Wrong with Liberal Jews?”

Simple, there are none left.

The liberal Jews I grew up with – I lived in two neighborhoods, as a boy and as a young man, which had large Jewish populations – have virtually disappeared.

The attitudes evinced by many Jews in America today are greatly different than what I knew.

Israel’s founding involved the thinking of some very extreme Zionists like Ze’ev Jabotinsky who famously wrote in the 1920s of the need for “an iron wall” in the future Israel. Indeed, Russians should know that what he wrote was in Russian.

The concept of an iron wall certainly became unofficial Israeli policy. We see it in many, many behaviors. It is an iron wall towards all of Israel’s neighbors, and especially towards the Palestinians they continue to abuse and take things from.

Support for the bizarre behavior of Israel requires may compromises of conscience.

And it is an old and well-known phenomenon that for many people, as they move from youth to senior years, they become far more conservative anyway.

Further, the word “liberal” in Israel is almost a dirty word. Israeli fanatics, the people who always control the balance of power in divided Israeli elections, hate liberals because the essence of being a true liberal is opposing tyrannies of all kinds and respecting human and democratic rights.

Yes, Israel claims to be the Mideast’s only democracy, but that is only a heroic-sounding slogan meant to influence American thinking and comfort American supporters.

No state which accepts only one kind of people can possibly be called a democracy, and no state which keeps millions of people under endless occupation can possibly be called a democracy, and certainly no state that just periodically seizes the homes and farms of others can be called a democracy.

But if you highly qualify that word “democracy,” so that it just describes a political process in which only a select group of people from a society may partake, then you may call Israel a democracy, but then so was Nationalist South Africa a democracy by the same skewed definition. And so was the American Confederacy by exactly the same definition. And the world has had many other such “democracies.”

Surely, calling Israel a democracy is a kind of elaborate charade, but it is easy to see that in order to keep the charade going, you cannot have a lot of people questioning and doubting – which are the very activities genuine liberals always do. So, Israel has virtually no space for liberals, even less than in the imperial mother country, America, where small numbers are found huddled in country stores in places like Vermont or parts of Oregon.

The liberal way of looking at things does not sit well in Israel, it almost goes without saying. Even organizations like Israeli Labor Party do not reflect truly left or liberal views. The truth is that you cannot really be an Israeli without being, implicitly at least, a rather severe imperialist.

Were it otherwise, Israel could not continue keeping millions of people effectively under police-state government, the young men who make the IDF’s ugly excesses possible would not want to continue their day-in, day-out job of suppressing a hostile population and of occupying land they know is not theirs. Israel’s gigantic security services – gigantic, certainly, relative to the size of the country – wouldn’t be able to continue their years-long campaign of terror. A just-published book, for example, describes Israel’s 2700 assassinations, but assassination is just one of the dark practices employed as a matter of course by Mossad and Shin Bet.

For all these reasons and more, Israel is accurately described as a garrison state, much like an old Crusader fortresses of the Middle Ages. It effectively provides an American colony in the region, too, such an arrangement being seen as beneficial by both sides – by Israelis who want the greatest possible security and by the Pentagon-CIA Axis which wants dominance everywhere. It is convenient, too, for American Jews (the largest Jewish population outside Israel) who are allowed dual-citizenship and to freely move back and forth, almost as though Israel were a 51st state.

Those kinds of arrangements do not leave a lot of room for truly liberal sentiments, either on the part of residents or on the part of supporters abroad.

“Liberal,” through long effort on the part of government and media is dirty word in Israel, even more extremely so than it has become through much of America itself. After all, America’s post-WWII imperialism and constant colonial wars leave little room for liberalism to flourish and it has indeed been dying for many decades in America, today’s Democratic Party being pretty much a War Party with slightly different domestic views than the Republicans.

Americans supporting Israel are affected by all these political currents and can hardly assume a different posture without being subject to ridicule or contempt. There are few individuals anywhere who stand up to the prevailing views in a country, no matter how negative they may be. Just making a living is hard enough without taking on a full-time cause, one bringing down on your head many hostilities.

America, except for small enclaves and local institutions – political boutiques might almost be an apt description – really has little left that can be legitimately described as liberal, and the case in Israel is far more extreme, liberal voices often being treated as traitors.

Posted January 31, 2018 by JOHN CHUCKMAN in Uncategorized


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